BP100: Public perceptions on constitutional reform in Zimbabwe

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Briefing papers
Ndoma, Stephen

Ideally, a country’s constitution is that society’s contract with its citizens and should be an expression of the aspirations and values of the people. Zimbabwe’s constitution has a chequered history. It was crafted in London in 1979 as an elite ceasefire pact among warring parties and has been amended no less than 19 times in 30 years. Few have regarded this document as a national supreme law and many have agitated for its replacement. The only concerted effort to craft a new social contract was in 1999-2000 but it ended in a constitutional draft’s rejection in a February 2000 referendum. Civil society, through the National Constitutional Assembly, produced its own “people-driven” draft which however was not presented to the people for their verdict. Then in September 2007, the three main political parties clandestinely negotiated their own draft supreme law, the so-called ‘Kariba Draft’ which was quickly overtaken by the dynamics surrounding the 2008 elections.